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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chrysler Restarts Production; Ford Confirms Profit Plans

As the 2009 recovery gets underway, Chrysler and Ford (F) may be leading renewed optimism for US automakers.

About a week after emerging from bankruptcy protection and finalizing a deal with the Fiat Group, Chrysler confirmed on Wednesday that the company plans to resume production of vehicles at seven assembly plants in the US, Canada, and Mexico by the week of June 29. Two facilities are in Michigan, one in Missouri and another in Ohio. Three other assembly plants are in Canada and Mexico.

The Dodge Viper's Conner Avenue factory in Detroit reopened on Monday,

"A restart of production at other Chrysler assembly plants will be announced at a later date," the company said in a statement. Chrysler had shut down all of its North American operations for a period of two months as it entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May.

Separately Ford's CEO Alan Mulally stated that his firm is on track to get back to profitability. "Over the last couple of months we’ve reduced our debt by over $10 billion, we also (on the strength of our business plan) went to the equity markets and raised over $1.6 billion in fresh equity... so we’ll continue to look for opportunities along the way here (as we march back to profitability) to improve the balance sheet."

These among other developments will likely continue to have positive implications for an improved employment picture in the US.

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